All Time Best Rock Guitar Players Bands/Musicians
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All Time Best Rock Guitar Players

I have never played guitar. But I have listened to as much of it as any man my age, or at least any non-Guitar Center employee my age.

The common thread: just about everyone on this list has a totally recognizable, distinct sound. While all of them are incredibly talented, I am less biased towards technical virtuosity than uniqueness and feel (though I grew up on virtuoso hard rock guitarists, to be sure). Have uploaded a few videos (an insanely easy task on Ranker, thanks Paul), and will continue to add more.

While the majority of rocks's greatest guitarists came out of the classic rock era, it has been encouraging to see some new entries from recent years after a "guitar hero lull" in the 90s.Note that I am punishing some of my favorite guitar bands from sending representatives to this list - namely bands with 2 guitarists, particularly "dual leads" (except for Angus), though if the sum was equal to the parts bands like Maiden and Priest would be on here - at some point I will do an "addendum list" that adds guitar teams to the mix. It's the fair thing to do.

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  1. 1

    #2 on the original list Blues-rock, Folk rock, Heavy metal The Master. Literally didn't play a weak note on record for the entire Led Zeppelin run. Went through a pretty dull period in the 80s but live (and sporadically in the studio) has returned to form in

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  2. 2

    #51 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock Never a more soulful player than Jerry.

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  3. 3

    #1 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock If he had lived a longer life, I am almost positive he would have been my #1.

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  4. 4

    #6 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock Over the years my appreciation of Mr David Gilmour just seems to grow and grow, so he's gotta go above Blackmore. Plus I am totally uninterested in Blackmore's Night, so I probably punish Ritchie a

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  5. 5

    #5 on the original list Popular music, Pop music, Rock music Come back, Eddie, come back!

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  6. 6

    #20 on the original list Rock music, Heavy metal, Neo-Medieval music I had a picture of Blackmore in my locker in high school. Monster player and showman - who cares if he was sloppy live at times, in my book that was what made him so exciting.

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  7. 7

    #39 on the original list Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge Technically, nowhere near the equal of any of my top 20 or so. But Neil almost created the guitar sound that was grunge, and for pure unique feedback stoner crunch nothing beats electric Neil.

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  8. 8

    #22 on the original list Doom metal, Blues-rock, Heavy metal Though not as flashy as Page or Blackmore, Iommi wrote an equal amount of monster riffs, and singlehandedly invented the heavier side of Metal.

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  9. 9
    No image

    #128 on the original list THE monster player of his generation - and perhaps the most diverse rock guitar hero of all time.

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  10. 10

    #11 on the original list Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music Part of me is shocked Knopfler made my Top 10 and I have a feeling I'm forgetting someone major, but the man is an absolute master of his craft and while not playing Dire Straits - level awesomeness,

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  11. 11

    #68 on the original list Heavy metal, Hard rock Wow. Schenker would rank even higher if he had lasted longer in his prime before going off into whack-job land.

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  12. 12

    #13 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Jazz fusion

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  13. 13

    #56 on the original list Blues-rock, Punk blues, Rock music

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  14. 14

    #23 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae Second only to Hendrix (with Page a close third) in "coolest looking guitarist" rankings.

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  15. 15

    #3 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae Although these days he tends to use no more than 50% of his God-given talent (often less), that doesn't mean he's lost it all - and his record in the 60s and 70s speaks for itself.

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  16. 16

    #96 on the original list Rock music, Alternative rock, Post-punk

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  17. 17

    #4 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock

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  18. 18

    #54 on the original list Rock music, Acoustic music, Heavy metal By far the most original player of the alt-rock era. You've heard his playing in RATM of course, but check out this video of Morello absolutely shredding guesting with The Boss at a concert I was

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  19. 19

    #76 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

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  20. 20

    #15 on the original list Glam metal, Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal

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  21. 21

    #125 on the original list Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal, Psychedelic rock The most underexposed Guitar God of alltime.

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  22. 22

    #58 on the original list Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music Check out this version of Derek and the Domines "Anyday" that Trucks and his wife do (with sick vocals from the singer of the Trucks band who I'm not always a huge fan of)

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  23. 23

    #158 on the original list Heavy metal, Hard rock

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  24. 24

    Rock music, Electronic music, Jazz fusion Leader of the Mars Volta. A spectacularly talented and innovative player.

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  25. 25

    Jazz Ask The Ages is one of my top 3 alltime instrumental albums.

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  26. 26

    #8 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock Pure guitar-talent wise, he'd be in my Top 5 for sure - nobody sounds like Jeff Beck. But he just hasn't played on enough absolute classic songs to earn top honors in my book.

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  27. 27

    BTS are a guitar band for the ages

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  28. 28

    #14 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

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  29. 29

    #222 on the original list Doom metal, Noise rock, Folk rock Incredibly underrated rocker. I never tire hearing J play the guitar.

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  30. 30

    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Heavy metal aka Slash. In my 20s I would have had you in the Top 10.

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  31. 31

    Rock music, Folk music, Electric folk Richard Thompson above Rory Gallagher? This was a tough call, as pound for pound guitar consistency wise, I'd have to give it to the late great Rory (incidentally the first name rock band I ever saw

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  32. 32

    #37 on the original list Skiffle, Blues-rock, Classic rock If you like hard rock guitar with a slight blues and boogie edge, you MUST pick up Stage Struck, an absolute killer live album from the most hard rock era of Rory's prolific career.

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  33. 33

    #271 on the original list Power pop, Alternative rock, Punk rock Sheets of sound with one guitar. Nobody sounds like Mould.

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  34. 34

    #10 on the original list Rock music, Heavy metal, Pop rock

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  35. 35

    #26 on the original list Heavy metal, Progressive rock, Hard rock A late addition to this list - an oversight that I tend to make when it comes to rating Lifeson as a guitar hero, probably due to the monster-level talent of his bandmates on their particular cudgels.

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  36. 36

    #18 on the original list Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

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  37. 37

    #60 on the original list Rock music, Electronic dance music, Protopunk Very saddened that he has left the Chili Peppers

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  38. 38

    #16 on the original list Rock music, Instrumental rock, Heavy metal

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  39. 39

    #115 on the original list Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock while you totally don't think of Cobain as a guitar hero, and my gut is to not consider him on this list, KC wrote some absolutely sick riffs and had a truly unique sound.

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  40. 40

    #36 on the original list Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

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  41. 41

    #29 on the original list Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

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  42. 42

    #41 on the original list Blues-rock, Rock music, Blues

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  43. 43

    #42 on the original list Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

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  44. 44

    #9 on the original list Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Pop music Honestly, not a fan of much of his music (I just don't have an affinity for Latin music in general), but no question his guitar playing soars into another dimension.

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  45. 45

    #31 on the original list Blues-rock, Pop music, Boogie rock

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  46. 46

    #359 on the original list Shoegazing, Alternative rock, Noise pop

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  47. 47

    #64 on the original list Kozmigroov, Rock music, World music

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  48. 48

    #50 on the original list Chicano rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock In high school I used to satisfy my cultured side by cranking Tour De Force Live at top volume - I wasn't ALL about heavy metal. jazz, man. That was a long time ago. But I still pull that record out

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  49. 49

    #72 on the original list Glam metal, Heavy metal, Glam rock

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  50. 50

    Instrumental rock, Alternative rock, Post-rock

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